Bonding Note

Rabbit Rescue’s system is: one month living in separate rooms, and then a move into the same room (different cages), and the dating begins!

I’ve read lots of other systems. Like, speed dating before you bring the second bunny home. And first dates immediately, but up on a table. Car trips together (shared trauma).

This is my first time! It’s all news.

Rabbit Bonding Progress Report

We finished the new cage!

Three photos of a large dog crate tricked out with a jumping shelf, litter box, grass mats, cardboard mats, water bottle, water bowl, and hay bowl

We submitted our application!

Rabbit Rescue responded with five suggestions based on Thomas’ personality, and how we want another small bun. We read their profiles, narrowed it down to three, and asked about their approximate locations. We narrowed it down to one! — she also happens to be their top choice, and their Feature Rabbit. She is a blue-eyed white named Serena.

We’ve just been put in touch with her fosterer. I can’t wait to meet her!

from Jason Compson III

Because no battle is ever won he said. They are not even fought. The field only reveals to man his own folly and despair, and victory is an illusion of philosophers and fools.

From Quentin Compson III, quoting Jason, in William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury (1929).

Bonding!

I’m so excited about this !! We’ve begun concrete plans to bond Thomas with a mate.

I’ve wanted to do this for a long time. I wanted to foster a bonded pair to begin with. Of course, I don’t regret Tom! but I’d love to see him with a bunny friend. He seems the type for it. He’s so affectionate, but fearful. I hope another rabbit could help ease his insecurity. (I know, it could also add to his stress, if they don’t get along. I hope not!)

I contacted Rabbit Rescue last week and we’ve started the conversation. At home, we’ve started setting up the secondary rabbitat in our bedroom. We already renoed the room — de-cluttered some, played with layout. Now we have to replace our clothing racks (we already have some picked out at Walmart), and finish bunny-proofing (the only thing I’m not sure about is the exposed sections of wall where there’s a telephone cord; otherwise, we’ll be making ample use of wire grid squares attached to furniture legs).

We have to set up the cage too, and a few play areas around the room. We have the cage — another dog crate, but smaller (2′ 2″ high, 3′ wide, and 2′ deep) — but not much else. The plan is to put in a shelf, like we’ve done in Thomas’ cage. (And later, when the rabbits are fully bonded, we’ll attach the two crates with wire grid squares to make a double-wide!) I don’t really have any firm ideas about enrichment (play areas, structures, etc). New litter box, new dishes… a couple more willow bowls, maybe some grass mats… It has begun!

The only other thing is our savings (for vet emergencies). We set a goal — we’re almost there!

I’m so eager to hear Rabbit Rescue’s suggestions for a mate for Thomas! Who will it be?

And now, a final word (Condo Saga Denouement)

I wrote about the end of Tommy’s cube-condo this summer, so now I’ll say a bit about what he moved into.

A dog crate! A big one: 2′ 7″ high, 4′ wide, and 2′ 5″ deep.

We put in a top shelf (only 1′ 9″ wide). We might one day put in a more complete second floor, although it would have to have walls where the doors are (because that would be a pretty long jump to the hardwood.

For his comfort, we lined the floor tray with layers of corrugated cardboard. (We’ve been looking for this stuff for years! We finally found some at Rotblotts.)

I made a ramp to the top shelf, which I think is pretty fun. It’s almost more like a bridge. It’s made from a set of fiddlesticks with one end on the shelf, and the other end on a low cardboard box. I put a grass mat on top of the box for traction. The grass mat and the fiddlesticks are attached to the side of the cage with zip-ties, so they won’t slip out from under Thomas’ feet. (I drilled some holes into the sticks to run the ties through.)

five shots of the rabbit's habitat

Thomas likes using the ramp, but we found he was also jumping down from the shelf to the ground floor directly. Even with the corrugated cardboard, I felt it was too hard a surface to be jumping down on, so I bought a cheap yoga mat and put that below all the cardboard. I also added a few extra layers of cardboard. Since he likes to rip up the cardboard, I check every day to make sure he’s not getting close to the yoga mat. (I don’t know if he’d eat it or not; our last bun definitely would’ve.)

The corrugated flooring is not the easiest to sweep. There are patches where lower layers show through, and loose squares here and there, which make it even harder to sweep without getting hay and litter caught between the layers. We do our best. I assume every so often I’ll have to take everything out and re-do it. I expected as much. I wrote in my last habitat post about how Tom sometimes pees over the edge of his litter; now when that happens I just cut out the soiled parts and insert new patches below the lowest layer. (And I do the same when an area is made wet by spilled water from his dishes.) Maybe not the best system, but an improvement over having to replace the entire floor each time it happens!

You may have noticed the second litter box in the pictures above. We have his normal litter box in the far right corner (it’s a modified plastic storage tote). When he started peeing outside the box (as mentioned in my last post, he started peeing beside his litter box last month — and not by leaning over the edge, but actually standing outside the box), I put the small store-bought corner box to try and block him. For the most part, it’s worked (just two accidents). He pees in both boxes every day. I stuff the hay deeper in his main box, and don’t use any in the smaller one, so that he can’t stand outside the box and eat hay.

For outside the cage, we have a selection of boxes and tunnels. We switch it up, you know, try to keep him guessing!

More News from the Litterbox

It’s been so long since I’ve written, I’ve really gotten out of the habit! I’ll have to break my update up into different posts. This one will be about Thomas’ health.

He’s still having bladder problems. We were in and out of the vet’s all last month because of sludge. Like before, the problem never got too bad — always plenty of normal urine, never any signs of pain. He started peeing outside the box at one point, I think because of stress. A urine test indicated no infection but lots of calcium. He’s on a pellets-free diet now, and still yesterday there was a tiny bit of sludge.

Eventually, we might have to learn how to do subQs at home, and how to express a sludgey bladder. For now, we’re trying to encourage him to drink lots of water and get lots of exercise. Also we track what he eats, and we’re going to start looking for correlations between sludge and any particular veg.

For encouraging water, he’s got his bowl and bottle, he eats plenty of hay (because rabbits that eat lots of hay typically drink more water than those that don’t), and sometimes we spike his water with a tiny bit of apple juice. We’re also looking for a cat fountain, because we’ve heard some rabbits like those.

For exercise, someone on Etherbun suggested agility training. I like it! I’ve started looking into clicker training.

Do You Know Where Your Dog Is?

As I was walking home the other day, I noticed a man lying in the middle of the street (literally). He had a dog with him and the dog was now loose, wandering in the road. A fully grown man is fairly difficult to miss; cars and trucks were edging past him. A tiny dog, however, is a different story and could easily be hit.

You might think this could happen to anyone. It’s true that misfortune can happen to anyone. You’re out walking your dog and God strikes. It could happen.

But this was not misfortune. This didn’t just “happen.” This was a man who choose to get effed up while in charge of another living being. Or put another way, this was a man who chose to take responsibility for another living being, in spite of his desire to get effed up. He was filthy, bloody, urine-stained…

Let’s get right down to it: I am guessing he stole the dog.

A year or so ago, S and I witnessed two drunks untie a dog and start to walk away with it. This was in Chinatown in the middle of the day. All kinds of people were watching, and no one was doing anything. The second we realized what was going on we intervened. I grabbed the leash and tugged it from the guy’s hand. No one offered to help. We waited around for more than half an hour for the owner to show up, the drunks kitty-corner and watching the whole time.

These are not isolated incidents. Since rescuing the dog in Chinatown, I’ve noticed street drunks in possession of dainty dogs. These are not the kinds of dogs you acquire for a planned life on the street. I see those dogs, too: large, muscular, short-furred, with well-worn leashes and packsacks, dirty bandanas. I see them with their owners, panhandling or hanging out in the park; the dogs have water bowls, food dishes. That’s a very different sight from a group of jerks sprawled on the pavement, yelling, crying, their faces wrecked, some utterly unconscious, others only half-so, and in the midst of them is a pretty dog, bright clean leash — maybe with long fur, maybe a thoroughbred — and zero provisions.

What can you do? What should you do?

I’ll admit, with this guy I lost my temper. I yelled, I swore. I wanted him off the street so at least the dog wouldn’t get hit. He ignored me until I said “cops.” I hated to see that dog go, but what could I do?

Every day I see dogs tied up on the sidewalk. This is toddler logic, teenage logic, to think you’re somehow immune. You are not. You’re not! Like this bullshit. You think your dog can’t be stolen in the 15 minutes — hell, 5 minutes — you’re in a store? Those guys in Chinatown, if we hadn’t stopped them? 2 minutes tops.

I’m actually thinking of starting a campaign, putting a tag on the leash of every dog I see tied up with some note about the danger. Being a public crazy is not really my style but I don’t know what else to do!?! But would this even work?

How do I get through to people??

The End (Condo Saga Part VII)

We thought it over a long time, and I was sad to see it go after having put so much work into it, but finally it was the right thing to do.

Problems: The floor, an indoor/outdoor rug, was gross. We’d already replaced it once, and we couldn’t keep it clean. Mainly the problem is the opening to his litter box is a bit too wide, and he sometimes pees over the edge — so the rug would get stained, and I just couldn’t clean it.

Also, it didn’t make the best use of space. Maybe in another room…

And the structure just wasn’t strong enough. When I’d open the big door, one side would buckle entirely. I thought about reinforcing it with dowels, but given the other problems…

Image of a two-level cube condo with accessories and a little black and white rabbit

To clarify a few things about the above image: The side facing us with the little door in it, let’s call it the South side, opens up entirely. There’s also another little door within it, right in front of where the rabbit is sitting. The East side is the one that would crumple when the big door was open. The image above shows four spring clamps holding the South side together, but really there were eight. The top floor and jumping shelf were held up with dowels (not pictured). They were made of plywood covered in linoleum, with grass mats affixed in strategic places to give the bun traction whilst jumping up or down. You can read more construction details by reading other posts tagged cube condo.

Lessons: Take this video more seriously.

So, what now? We’ve moved in a dog crate, a huge one. We’ve put in a shelf, some fun accessories. I think the bun likes it. But that’s another story

New Game, Old Game

I got some video of the game described last post. Tom liked this game a lot, but no more! We took down his cube condo this weekend and replaced it with a dog crate, and there’s no more corridor between the bars and wall. I’ve stuffed the paper under the cupboard beside his cage for now, but that’s going too (we’re fixing up the living room). My mind is churning about a suitable replacement…